Happy World Shorebirds Day!
Thank you to Piping Plover Friends Marguerite Matera and Mary Rhinelander who both shared the following wonderful article from the NYTimes
Threatened Birds Have a Defender on N.Y. Beaches: The Plover Patrol
A group of volunteers patrols beaches where endangered Piping Plovers nest.
By Daniel E. Slotnik
September 6, 2021
Piping plovers, dun-colored shorebirds that lay their eggs in tiny scrapes in the sand, are easy to miss as they dart over the beach. Chris Allieri is harder to overlook.
This past spring, Mr. Allieri started the N.Y.C. Plover Project, an organization dedicated to protecting the threatened birds on beaches in the Rockaways in Queens. He has recruited more than 50 volunteers who have spent most of the spring and summer patrolling the beaches to defend plovers from dogs and oblivious beachgoers.
Some interactions can be uncomfortable, like when Mr. Allieri intercepted a young woman carrying a small dog from her boat to the shore of Breezy Point Tip on a sweltering Saturday. Not far away a handful of fledgling plovers wheeled over the waves while at least three chicks scampered over the sand.
Mr. Allieri explained that the dog was forbidden. The woman said she understood and returned to the boat. But then a man stomped from the boat through waist-high water, asking Mr. Allieri, “You work for the government?”
Mr. Allieri said he did not but would call law enforcement if the dog set foot on the beach. The man said he didn’t like being told what to do. Mr. Allieri called the Parks Police before the man walked back to his boat.
Arguments like that are atypical, Mr. Allieri said, but days at the beach have not exactly been relaxing since he started watching over plovers.
Mr. Allieri, 47, lives in Brooklyn and owns a public relations company that specializes in clean energy and climate technologies. He saw his first plover as a child with his father, an avid birder, at the Jersey Shore. He said it was like seeing “a unicorn.”
Last year, Mr. Allieri was at Fort Tilden Beach at Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens when a plover appeared next to him on the beach. Then he saw another, and another.